Somatics and the Unconscious

One of the premises of somatics is to operate on information of the first person, the clients subjective experience. The western scientific and medical paradigm is based on objectification, it has failed in most cases to validate or capitalize on the clients inner knowledge, yet it does not account for the subjective perception of the observer. Many argue, and rightfully so in my opinion, that clients do not possess enough self awareness to give the practitioner adequate accurate information regarding their process verbally. Perhaps though, there are other modes of communication that we are overlooking. Finding a simple way to access this information would be of great help to facilitators of healing.

Definitions of the various states of consciousness are not specific in the contemporary dictionaries that I have seen. Bringing up this subject in medical or new age communities can get even more confusing. For the sake of clarity I propose the following meanings be assigned in the context of this article. The conscious mind, or ordinary consciousness, will be defined as the thinking brain, favored by western science/medicine for its dualistic, rational, and reductionistic processes, commonly known as the cerebral cortex. The subconscious will refer to emotional processing, popular with psychotherapists/analysts, also called the limbic system. The unconscious will include what is left, the moving and autonomic functions associated with the cerebellum and brainstem, or reptilian brain and the connective tissue system that may be accurately described as the living matrix. My purpose here is not to enter a philosophical discussion but to provide easy reference points, please do not discard your own notions of these concepts.

The general population is beginning to learn what body therapists and healers have known for centuries, that posture effects thought, thought effects feelings, emotions effect movement, i.e. these functions are all interrelated. I’m sure you can recall a situation where you were overwhelmed with emotion and couldn’t think, or were sick and got depressed. The good news is that "pschosomatic" is no longer a dismissal that nothing is wrong. The bad news is that you may get referred all over town and not be addressed as a whole person, each specialist, like the story of the blind men and the elephant, sees their own part accurately but misses the big picture. If you are interested in somatics you may already know these things.

My experience in bodywork sessions suggests that these states of consciousness not only effect each other but that they operate at different speeds, or times, if you will. Perhaps you remember a personal experience where "time stood still", such as an automobile accident. Listening to Peter Levine lecture on the biomechanics of trauma, I found several ideas, up to then unrelated, coming together in my mind. I remembered Jim Oschman’s story of Albert Szent-Gyorgyi’s cat, jumping faster than the nervous system could account for. Could we work on and resolve our traumatic issues in this way and was that in fact what I was seeing in my clients? Jim’s reply to these questions set alot of things in motion. The work of somaZen had a quantum shift towards coherency and the importance of language became clear.

In Jim’s letter he talked of a holograghic referencing system within the living matrix. This system worked at about a hundred billion times per second verses the ordinary "stream of consciousness" which moved at ten bits per second. This seemed to tie into the "space between thoughts" that the Zen masters and meditators often refer too. It also matched Gurdjieff’s explaination of the different speeds of the "centers", the thinking center being slowest (conscious), the moving center moving at thirty thousand times faster (unconscious), and the feeling center another thirty thousand times faster (subconscious). In my judgement these numbers are too close to be mere coincidence.

In Levine’s work I learned that this holographic referencing system was able to prioritize and organically unwind trauma with a level of efficiency that could not even be approached by a therapist. Peter is quite intuitive and he works in the somatic realm of sensate experience by using primarily verbal interaction, as well as I could ascertain in my brief exposure to his work. What I am proposing is to interface client/therapist unconscious directly, communicating through shared sensate experience. While this process has always happened in every human interaction, it is not tracked by ordinary consciousness, and has lost any chance of therapeutic change. The therapist must mindfully follow this exchange of information for it contains the key to the unique protocol each client brings to the session.

My experience is that we can work in a quantum realm rather than a linear one. When this sensate flow is established shifts occur on multiple layers/levels simultaneously, organically and painlessly. I call these quantum passageways "vortexes" and believe it is a similar phenomena to the so called "universal mind" described by various meditative practices. For these brief, according to "normal conscious time", vortexes to open a space must be created where the conscious and subconscious of the client are at ease and trust the therapist enough not to disrupt the process. So I may spend fifty eight minutes preparing for a few seconds in interface.

During this preparation time I must also use alternate modes of communication. Using, as I am able, all three states of consciousness together I can "listen" with my hands to the living matrix and allow it to direct me. I must empty myself of notions and agendas to become teachable. The masters of Zen Shiatsu constantly remind students that the client is your instructor and to gratefully receive instruction as you work. Responding in the clients preferred language ,which may be any one or a combination of these conscious states, is a way to validate their message. This way of working is called "intuitive" and must be learned, it is not a random inborn function as is commonly believed. Sincere listening and intuitive response are powerful tools to establish trust so that interface can be achieved. Every client has an amazing story to tell if we are able to listen.

In summary I am saying that we limit ourselves with the construct of normal conscious/time and linear language. By allowing concepts of multidimensional time and quantum language into our practice many unexplainable, or lucky, phenomena become easily understandable. When we are able to master these new languages many previously impossible achievements will become the new reality. Then holistic healing will be ready to move to the next step, community.